Bodybuilders Need Protein, but Mainly Fruits, Legumes, and Vegetables Are Anti Aging Foods that Slow Biological Aging Summary

  • This prospective cohort study differentiated between healthy (anti aging food like grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes) and unhealthy (sugar, refined grains, salt-preserved vegetables) anti-aging foods. Biological aging was measured using the multi-dimensional aging measure, which includes chronological age and 13 aging-associated biomarkers.
  • Participants with the highest overall and healthy Plant-Based Diet Index scores had significantly lower odds (25% and 27%, respectively) of moderately accelerated aging and even lower odds (37% and 38%, respectively) of highly accelerated aging compared to those with the lowest scores. Conversely, participants with the highest unhealthy Plant-Based Diet Index scores substantially increased (72% and 70%) in moderately and highly accelerated aging odds.
  • Regarding mortality risk, participants with moderately and highly accelerated aging values faced a 56% and 272% increased risk of death, respectively, compared to those with slowly accelerated aging values. The beneficial association of overall and healthy Plant-Based Diet Index with aging scores was mainly attributed to consuming anti aging food like fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

Bodybuilders are known to consume high amounts of protein to build muscle mass and enhance their performance. However, did you know that incorporating anti aging food such as fruits, legumes, and vegetables into their diet can also help slow down biological aging? A balanced diet is an essential component of bodybuilding.

Can you Reverse Aging with Anti Aging Food?

In an era where meat-centric diets like the carnivore diet are gaining popularity, the significance of plant-based proteins in promoting health and longevity often gets overshadowed. Despite the emphasis on animal proteins in bodybuilding and fitness circles, the role of anti aging food in a balanced diet is crucial.

This article delves into a new study that found that following a plant-based diet, including anti aging food like red bell peppers, was linked to a reduced risk of elevated aging-related biomarkers. The primary foods contributing to this positive effect were fruits, legumes, and vegetables. (Wang, Li, et al., 2023)

Proper nutrition also aids in muscle recovery, reducing the risk of injuries and promoting overall well-being. Healthy fats, whole grains, and lean proteins support body composition goals and help maintain overall health. By prioritizing a balanced diet, bodybuilders can optimize their training and achieve their fitness goals.

The Anti-Aging Diet Plan and Plant-Based Diets

Human life expectancy has significantly increased in recent decades, potentially due to advances in public health and healthcare services in the United States. However, this increase in lifespan has been accompanied by a rise in chronic diseases, often linked to physical or cognitive disabilities and mortality. (Jagger et al., 2008) Nutrition and diet play a pivotal role in health, with anti aging food emerging as key modifiers in preventing age-related diseases and maintaining overall good health.(Campisi et al., 2019; Yeung et al., 2021)

Biological vs. Chronological Aging

Aging is an inevitable, complex process, better understood through biological rather than chronological markers. Chronological aging refers to the passage of time since a person’s birth. It is the most straightforward and universal measure of age, expressed simply in years, months, and days.

Biological Aging

grayscale photography of man wearing button-up collared shirtOn the other hand, biological aging refers to the physiological changes that occur in an organism as it ages. This includes changes at the cellular and molecular levels, such as DNA damage, telomere shortening, and reduced cellular function. Unlike chronological aging, biological aging varies significantly among individuals. Factors like genetics, lifestyle choices (such as diet, exercise, smoking, and alcohol use), environmental exposures, and chronic diseases influence the rate of biological aging.

As the global population ages, with a projected 1.6 billion people over 65 by 2050, understanding the dynamics of aging becomes crucial for public health. Biological age, which integrates various biomarkers, is a more accurate indicator of health status and mortality risk than chronological age. (Wang, Wen, et al., 2023)

Can you Reverse Aging with Diet?

Anti Aging Food Studies have shown that plant-based diets, rich in anti-aging foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, contribute to reduced mortality and enhanced neurological health in the aging population. (Chatterji et al., 2015) These diets, rich in anti aging food like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, are associated with successful aging, characterized by the absence of chronic diseases and mental health maintenance. (Campisi et al., 2019; Liu et al., 2018) These foods contain essential vitamins and minerals that can help protect against oxidative damage and slow biological aging.

Understanding the Plant-Based Diet Index (PDI)

The Plant-Based Diet Index (PDI) is a tool used to measure the quality of a person’s plant-based diet. It evaluates the intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and healthy fats. A higher PDI score indicates a diet that is rich in essential nutrients, promoting overall health and healthy aging.

The PDI takes into consideration food quality, diversity, and balance, which are all crucial aspects of a healthy plant-based diet. Following a high PDI diet has been associated with various health benefits, ranging from improved cardiovascular health to the prevention of cognitive decline. By understanding and implementing the PDI, individuals can ensure that their plant-based diet is optimized for maximum health benefits.

New Study on What Foods Reduce Biological Aging

A recent investigated the relationship between plant-based dietary patterns and aging trajectories, as well as the impact of these dietary patterns on all-cause mortality. This involved analyzing the aging process using a multi-dimensional aging measure that includes chronological age and biological aging biomarkers.

Study Protocol

The study used a group-based trajectory modeling approach on 10,191 participants aged 50 years or older, identifying distinctive aging trajectory groups based on 13 different markers of biological aging measured over 8 years.

Aging Trajectories:

The participants were grouped into three distinct aging trajectories: slow, medium-degree, and high-degree accelerated aging.

Dietary Patterns:

A food frequency questionnaire assessed Participants’ nutritional habits. Their responses delineated three plant-based dietary patterns: an overall Plant-Based Diet Index, a healthy plant-based diet, and an unhealthy diet.

The participants’ dietary habits were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire, which included both plant-based foods (such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and animal-based foods (such as eggs, meat, and dairy). The questionnaire also distinguished between healthy plant foods (such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes) and unhealthy plant foods (such as sugar, refined grains, and salt-preserved vegetables).


bowl of vegetable saladsConsuming more healthful plant-based foods, as indicated by a higher score on the healthful Plant-Based Diet Index (including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), links to reduced chances of falling into accelerated aging trajectories (i.e., experiencing slower aging) and enhances the quality of life.

In contrast, a higher intake of unhealthful plant-based foods (such as sugar, refined grains, and salt-preserved vegetables) increased the likelihood of accelerated aging and negatively impacting one’s quality of life. Specifically, those with the highest overall plant-based diet Index, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains scores, had a 25% lower chance of moderate aging acceleration and a 37% lower chance of high aging acceleration. Participants in the medium and high-degree accelerated aging groups showed higher risks of death.

Those with the highest scores in the unhealthy plant foods (such as sugar, refined grains, and salt-preserved vegetables) faced a significantly higher risk of accelerated aging: a 72% increased chance of moderate aging acceleration and a 70% increased chance of high aging acceleration. The people in medium-degree accelerated aging trajectory had a 1.56-fold higher risk, and those in high-degree accelerated aging trajectory had a 3.72-fold higher risk of all-cause mortality than those in the slow aging trajectory.

What Are the Best Anti Aging Foods?

The main contributors to the beneficial association of overall and healthy aging scores were fruits, vegetables, and legume consumption.

In contrast, the main contributors to the detrimental association of unhealthy aging values were pluck (organ meats such as the heart, liver, and lungs, and sometimes other organs like the kidneys and intestines.), refined grains, dairy products, and salt-preserved vegetables.

Practical Implications

These findings underscore the importance of differentiating between healthful and unhealthful plant-based foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes, critical components of a healthy plant-based diet, were particularly beneficial in slowing aging and counteracting negative effects. Conversely, including refined grains, salt-preserved vegetables, and certain dairy products in unhealthful plant-based diets associates them with accelerated aging.

For individuals focused on bodybuilding and high protein intake, this study highlights the importance of incorporating various plant-based foods into their diet. While protein is essential for muscle building and repair, the broader spectrum of nutrients found in plants plays a critical role in overall health and longevity.


The study provides compelling evidence that adopting a diet rich in plants, fruits, and vegetables can significantly slow aging. This research adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the role of anti aging food in promoting health and longevity.  As we continue to explore the complex relationship between diet and aging, the importance of plant-based proteins and nutrients in our diet becomes increasingly evident.


Campisi, J., Kapahi, P., Lithgow, G. J., Melov, S., Newman, J. C., & Verdin, E. (2019). From discoveries in ageing research to therapeutics for healthy ageing. Nature, 571(7764), 183-192.

Chatterji, S., Byles, J., Cutler, D., Seeman, T., & Verdes, E. (2015). Health, functioning, and disability in older adults–present status and future implications. Lancet, 385(9967), 563-575.

Jagger, C., Gillies, C., Moscone, F., Cambois, E., Van Oyen, H., Nusselder, W., & Robine, J. M. (2008). Inequalities in healthy life years in the 25 countries of the European Union in 2005: a cross-national meta-regression analysis. Lancet, 372(9656), 2124-2131.

Liu, Z., Kuo, P. L., Horvath, S., Crimmins, E., Ferrucci, L., & Levine, M. (2018). A new aging measure captures morbidity and mortality risk across diverse subpopulations from NHANES IV: A cohort study. PLoS Med, 15(12), e1002718.

Wang, S., Li, W., Li, S., Tu, H., Jia, J., Zhao, W., Xu, A., Xu, W., Tsai, M. K., Chu, D. T., Wen, C. P., & Wu, X. (2023). Association between plant-based dietary pattern and biological aging trajectory in a large prospective cohort. BMC Med, 21(1), 310.

Wang, S., Wen, C. P., Li, W., Li, S., Sun, M., Xu, A., Tsai, M. K., Chu, D. T., Tsai, S. P., Tu, H., & Wu, X. (2023). Development of a Novel Multi-dimensional Measure of Aging to Predict Mortality and Morbidity in the Prospective MJ Cohort. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 78(4), 690-697.

Yeung, S. S. Y., Kwan, M., & Woo, J. (2021). Healthy Diet for Healthy Aging. Nutrients, 13(12).

Additional Information

Vegetables and fruits, rich in vitamins C, E, and K, combat skin aging and heart disease by neutralizing harmful free radicals. Bell peppers and leafy greens boost collagen production, enhancing skin elasticity and health. The Mediterranean diet, incorporating olive oil and various nutrients, supports cognitive function, heart health, and overall human health.

Green tea, with its phenolic acids, and fatty fish, rich in amino acids, protect against oxidative stress and skin damage.

What are the best anti aging food to include in your diet?

The best anti-aging foods to include in your diet are fruits, legumes, and vegetables.

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